Three out of five

After tallying 27 hits and scoring 19 runs in their first two games at the Eller Media Stadium Tournament, it looked as though the Viking softball team would have a big weekend down in Las Vegas.

After tallying 27 hits and scoring 19 runs in their first two games at the Eller Media Stadium Tournament, it looked as though the Viking softball team would have a big weekend down in Las Vegas.

However, the bats cooled in the second day of the tournament, and then a late home run on Sunday by New Mexico State pinch hitter Brittany Clifton erased any hope of returning home with Portland State’s first winning tournament of 2010. 

The Viking bats were due to come around after 12 games of hitting .212 and around they came against Southern Utah and host University of Nevada, Las Vegas Friday. Freshman pitcher Anna Bertrand, who had been the tough-luck loser on a one-hitter against Cal Poly, would have plenty of run support against Southern Utah as the Vikings blasted through the Thunderbirds, 9–0. 

Bertrand pitched five innings, scattered three hits, struck out nine and walked none for the first time in her collegiate career. She’d get all the help she would need from senior catcher Brandi Scoggins, who went 4–4 on her way to eight straight hits over the first day of the tournament. 

With a blowout already under the Vikings belt, it looked as though it would be more of the same as Portland State jumped out to an early 7–0 lead against UNLV. Led by a bases-clearing double by senior second basemen Becca Diede and an RBI single from Scoggins, the early seven-run lead after two innings looked as though it would be more than enough for senior pitcher Tori Rogers. 

Rogers cruised through the first two frames, but the potent bats of UNLV caught up to her in the third and fourth inning. Consecutive singles by UNLV hitters Tayler Aleman and Alyssia De La Torre chased Rogers in the fourth and would come around to score on a three-run home run hit off relief pitcher Nichole Latham. The three-run blast courtesy of Marissa Nichols brought UNLV to within a run and they would tie the game at seven-all in the fifth. 

The Vikings, however, could not lose on Friday, as UNLV managed to keep the game tied for only half an inning.

A single and an error put two on board for freshman center fielder Danielle Lynn, whose propensity for big at bats is already apparent in her young career. Lynn, despite sitting out of the Kajikawa Classic, leads the team with nine RBIs and dealt UNLV its biggest blow of the evening, doubling in Brandi Campos and Arielle Wiser.  

UNLV would mount one more comeback attempt, scoring two in the top of the sixth off Bertrand. Bertrand walked lead off hitter Aleman to lead off the seventh, but struck out the final two batters of the inning to preserve a 10–9 victory. 

The offense pulled a disappearing act once again on Saturday, as No. 13 California blanked Portland State, 7–0. Pitcher Rogers took the loss, allowing five earned runs in five innings, striking out three and walking one. The loss to California was Portland State’s fourth loss in four tries against Pac-10 teams this year.

UNLV would avenge their close loss to the Vikings after Portland State’s loss to Cal in a game that was never close.

It was the Rebels that jumped out to an early lead this time and the Vikings were unable to respond. The game may have remained close had it not been for a couple of errors that led to five unearned runs for pitcher Bertrand. Despite the loss, she still struck out five in her 3 1/3 innings of work. 

It was against New Mexico State however, where some of the Viking’s most glaring weaknesses shone apparent. The Vikings jumped out to an early 2–0 lead in the bottom of the second, as freshman Alexa Morales singled up the middle to bring in De’Chauna Skinner and would later score herself on a wild pitch. The Vikings however would be done scoring despite out-hitting New Mexico State 9–5. 

Mental gaffes on the base paths and nine stranded base runners slowed the Viking offense to a glacial pace as New Mexico State chipped away at the PSU lead, plating one in the top of the fourth. Bertrand weaved in and out of trouble as an erratic outing led to six walks and one hits batter in 5 1/3 innings of work. 

Despite Bertrand’s wild outing, she was able to avoid major damage until the top of the sixth, when a single and a late home run by pinch hitter Clifton pulled New Mexico State ahead for good, 3–2. Rogers, who struggled in games against California and UNLV, came in to relieve Bertrand and ended the tournament on a high note, throwing 1 2/3 perfect innings to keep Portland State within biting distance. 

Portland State softball will be back in action again this weekend, as the team heads north to Seattle to the Husky Softball Classic, where the Vikings will take on the defending national champion Washington Huskies. 

Eller Media Stadium Tournament

Portland State 9, Southern Utah 0
Portland State 10, UNLV 9


California 7, Portland State 0
UNLV 8, Portland State 0

New Mexico State 3, Portland State 2